Help track hunter, astronomers urged

orionram'Orion constellation
orionram'Orion constellation

STAR-gazers are being asked to help monitor the impact of light pollution as they scour the heavens for Orion the hunter over the Peak District.

The aim is to scout out the darkest locations for star-gazing in the national park and its surrounding areas.

The Peak District Dark Skies Group is asking people to go outside after 8pm on a clear night between February 16 and 23 to spot the constellation of Orion, with its distinctive ‘belt’ of three bright stars in a line, with a smaller three-star ‘sword’ below.

When they identify Orion, they will be asked to compare it with a series of star charts of varying brightness and decide which one most closely matches what they have seen.

The Peak District is one of the most accessible places to find dark, star-studded skies in the country and Surprise View, near Hathersage, was recently identified as a Dark Sky Discovery Site on BBC2’s Stargazing LIVE programme.

Group spokesman John Tanner said: “We held a similar exercise last year, and more than 200 people took part.”

See uk/darkskies for more details.